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Right View

Uncategorized Jun 19, 2020

The first step of the Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism begins with “Right View/Understanding” (Samma ditthi). It is only when an individual understands how things really are, that evolution and growth can commence.

 

Upon looking at the methods and techniques presented in the great repository of the Yoga Dharma, the inescapable message that is being conveyed points to our one and only valuable resource, our beliefs. A thorough reflection on the movements and behaviors that are expelled by us into the world, would reveal that they do not just emerge out of some nebulous cloud of random mental contents, but are actually reified by the underlying beliefs to which we are anchored. What we believe is what we value, and what we value reinforces our beliefs. We put on our seatbelts in the car because their efficacy in preventing injury has been instrumental in the belief that using them is important. We undertake the practice of Yoga because of the belief that physical...

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Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

Uncategorized Jun 17, 2020

There is more than one way to practice Yoga asana. One need only look to see the panoply of the methods/styles that are on offer in the modern world. Many die-hard traditionalists (which I used to be) hold the idea that everything useful in Yoga was discovered and settled on, hundreds, if not even thousands of years ago, and any divergence from it will be to the detriment of the individual. A closer reading of the fundamental tenets of Yoga will however reveal that it is not only compatible with the evolution of its techniques, but quite actually necessary. As the natural world, human society, knowledge undergo a continuous evolution, Yoga also incurs changes and refinements along its timeline.      

The concept of a Restorative Yoga practice is not unfamiliar to most enthusiasts. However, more often than not, it has the reputation of being more on the gentle end of the continuum, as contrasted to the more popular dynamic style of a vinyasa practice. The...

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Sanatana Dharma

Uncategorized Jun 13, 2020
One of the most comforting things about Yoga, is that its entire ensemble of techniques and principles is not manufactured by anyone. It is not a religion nor a belief system. It is simply a codification and synthesis of the laws of the universe, and especially the operation of the human organism. The original name of this Universal Order was “Sanata Dharma” (everlasting law/truth). In the same way that the law of gravity was discovered, the forebearers of this tradition discovered the law by which the human body and mind operated. This is why Yoga works. It does not impose, nor ask us to submit to a dogma that isn’t grounded in the reality and mechanisms of the natural world. It doesn’t even offer any values that we do not already have. The values of a well functioning body, mind, relationships, and society are all intrinsic to humans in the exact same way that avoiding pain is. No one has to talk anybody into the fact that sticking their hand in a fire is...
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Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Uncategorized Jun 10, 2020

The plurality of postures that are enshrined within some of the most common styles of Yoga, have one common denominator among them, Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (upward facing dog). Rarely taught as an end in itself, its all too common experience is anything but sustained. Most of the time students breeze through it on the way to some other pose. This common transience of the pose has left much of its mechanical contents relatively undiscovered, and therefore susceptible to some oversights that can actually become pathological over the course of time. 

Two of most common errors of Upward Dog surround the techniques that sentence the Lower back to stress and injury. The reciprocal muscle groups that control the tilt of the pelvis have to be reeducated concomitantly. This means that it is necessary to maintain muscular control in opposing sides of the body, back and front

 

Back:
Protection of the lower back stems from an appropriate use of the legs, mainly the butt muscle....

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The Gift of Dysphoria

Uncategorized Jan 30, 2020

One of the most ironic and fascinating aspects of Yoga, is not so much just the physical and chemical benefits that are derived from its techniques, but the psychological character that is necessary to even be able to apply them. There is a reason that the undertaking of this practice has always been regarded as a discipline. The life that the Yoga Dharma can seem to paint a picture of, is one in which many of the comforts that we have been endeared to, are positioned to be criticized, and even removed from our daily menu. This has its reasons, since the fundamental orientation that people have in life, is to survive by getting an education or acquiring a skill that will help them make the money necessary to do so. This is often times such a long ,and depending on the type of skill\education, arduous process, that it consumes the majority of our attentional bandwidth.

The gravity of this undertaking of health and well-being doesnt surface on our horizon, beyond the formal &...

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Authenticity

Uncategorized Jan 14, 2020

As the New Year is setting in motion, the theme of resolutions and intentions is never more popular and relevant than it is now. There is something very positive and hopeful about the way people aspire to commence their New Year, that seems to be carried with an even stronger force than their birthdays. The very nature of having a resolution provokes something inherently positive and honest in people. No one has a resolution that they’re going to start drinking more alcohol, smoking, being more dishonest, eating less healthy, etc… It also seems to be aligned with what people have had in mind all along. This points to a certain kind of actualization of one’s personal values, that was hitherto either avoided or overshadowed by other priorities. This is why it seems that the concept of “authenticity” becomes invoked with fair regularity, and like so many other thought provoking terms, it is far less often defined and elaborated. Authenticity is a word...

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Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)

Uncategorized Dec 30, 2019

   

Utthita Trikonasana/ Triangle pose (pic above) has a reputation that is arguably of such popularity in the modern Yoga world, that it is only preceded by the fame of “Downward Dog.” It’s anatomical and traditional specifications have a broad enough range, that it earns some commentary, in the service of safety. 

It’s benefits are on par with any standing posture, whose profit is measured in the provision of strength and stability to the legs and feet. Collectively referred to as the “lower extremity,” which spans everything from the toes to the hip joint, this family of limbs is the essential base of support to the spine, and therefore everything in our lives made possible by its existence. From the function of sight, to the complex movement patterns found in Yoga, the experiences that we enjoy are processed by the ineffable depth of the Central Nervous System, which is housed within the musculoskeletal matrix of the...

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Kumbhaka

Uncategorized Dec 17, 2019

When it comes to the practice of meditation, or as many refer to it by its more informal name as “sitting”, it has not been rare that I’ve heard people report their experience with it as one that is fraught with boredom, sleepiness, and a general lack of stimulation. This was also the case for me the first 3-4 years of my sitting practice, before I was introduced to the universe of the respiratory system, and its magnificent influence on the mind. The methodology of Yoga is all predicated on the exact procession of the breath. Postures, movement, diet, rest, physiological and mental hygiene, and ethical precepts are rendered lifeless at best, if not altogether dysfunctional, without the conscious cooperation of the breath. Once I discovered that breathing practices were the missing link in my sitting times, my meditation experience was transduced from one that resembled a chore, to something that I actually looked forward to, and even craved. 

I’ve...

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Hip Extension

In my post in January I highlighted the effect that our modern lifestyle has on a very important movement of the hip called “extension”. Hip extension (pic 2) is critical, as both a supporting faculty for the spine, as well as the mechanics of human gait.

About 80% of all people report having Low Back pain at some point in their lives (pic 3-5). It is also one of the most costly medical interventions in our society, right behind diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The habitually shortened state of the Psoas muscles (hip flexors) is one of the most central culprits in the lack of mobility in hip extension.

Unlike any of the other muscles in the entire muscular system, the Psoas also interacts with the respiratory system. The main muscle of breathing, the respiratory diaphragm, shares some of its tissue with the Psoas, which essentially means that the health and function of the Psoas intersects with the health and function of the breath, and vice versa. This points...

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The Perennial Answer (part 1)

Uncategorized Oct 28, 2019

At the final and much delayed birth of this blog, it only seems appropriate to honor the time the respected reader is investing to start off on the right foot and outline why the discipline and philosophy of Yoga is valuable in its complimentary, simple, and accessible implementation to anyone. It’s evolution and progression through time has kept pace with the evolutionary trajectory of human beings. Historically having emerged out of the very same soil that the many practices of what is now referred to as “Hinduism”, the traditions of Yoga have gradually become less sectarian and austere, evolving to include every domain of living. Regarded by some as the “Art of Living”, the base of Yoga is built upon a conceptual framework that includes every conceivable update that comes down the civilizational and evolutionary pipelines. Yoga’s instruments and methods have been stenciled into the very fabric of biological, social, physical, psychological,...

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